Friday, December 31, 2010

A Follow-Up

As you may recall, we found a new church that we really liked. That said, we were on the fence about returning because the lead pastor had made a comment that we felt was derogatory towards another religion.

Since we were supposed to meet some new friends for dinner after the next service, we decided to go through with one more visit.

Lo and behold, during the opening commentary, the pastor's wife made the same, stoopid joke.

Mr. Case elbowed me and whispered, "Enough is enough. We're done here."

Truth be told, we did attend a third time. On Christmas Eve we went and brought my family simply because we really wanted to go to church and it was the only place we knew of and were certain of the special service times.

Needless to say, we won't be returning. If our friends ask, we will likely explain why we don't feel comfortable attending. And in the meantime, I am definitely going to email the pastor and let him know that the joke shared between him and his wife is tasteless at best.

I know it is not my place to judge the pastor and his wife, certainly as a Christian I should know better. But at the end of the day I feel the joke itself is un-Christian-like and I can't buy into someone's sermon if I disagree with them on an issue such as this.

The good news is, you can throw a pebble and hit ten churches so it shouldn't be too hard to find someplace new. Frankly, we're excited to start looking!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Apple Pie, Barf

I don't like apple pie.

No exceptions.

My family really likes apple pie. My mom's boss was going out of town and left a full fridge, including a bag of apples. I offered to bake a pie for my dad to cheer him up.

Long story short, I didn't use a recipe, I just winged it. I bake on the regular so it was no big deal.

Apparently, it was the best apple pie ever baked. I didn't even bother to eat a piece, that's how much I don't like apple pie.

For Christmas my family quite literally begged me to make another apple pie. Being a good sport, I did. After listening to them sing the praises of the last pie for over two weeks, I decided I would try a slice this time.

It was awful.

The entire pie was gone within an hour of being sliced. Once again the pie was lavished with praise.

I will say, my pie didn't taste like what I know "typical pie" to taste like. But I still thought it was gross.

All this to say, I need a polite way to decline baking another one. If it is someone's birthday I will do it, but otherwise it will not be a family staple. Apple pie takes a lot of work and I just can't see committing to something that turns my stomach. Is this rude of me? If you guys think it is mean, I will continue baking them. Let me know!

***Mr. Case would like the record to state that I don't really care for any pie.


I got Mr. Case a remote controlled helicopter for Christmas. Dustin also got one but we didn't have batteries till this afternoon. Mr. Case called me into the game room to watch him fly his copter. He proceeds to crash it.

Me: Aw, you're gonna break it if you're not careful landing it!

Dustin: Psh! Do you know how many times I crashed mine?

Me: Uh, you broke yours!

Dustin: Oh, well, it still flies. Mostly.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Documentary Overload

There was nothing on TV today so I hit up The History Channel. I love all things historical and often wish I had majored in it in college (I didn't because I figured the only thing that degree would be good for is writing books nobody but college kids would read.)

Anyway, I got sucked into several documentaries. The first was an expose' on the Ku Klux Klan. I'm sure it goes without saying but they are a terrible group. I think it is really important to learn about this kind of stuff as a means of preventing history from repeating itself.

The next documentary was on cults. A family member of mine started a cult and is serving consecutive prison terms for his actions. My dad watched some of this program with me and he shared with me some stories of this awful person and the things he did. Even when things are hard to hear, I feel it is important to know your family history. (Incidentally, Mr. Case's grandfather was in a concentration camp as a youth and we have been privileged to hear some of his stories.)

The last show was about snipers. I always learn something new. Apparently, during the Vietnam war, the Viet Cong would employ many female snipers. One notoriously brutalized and of the people she captured by slashing them.

My dad says I need to learn to enjoy watching lighter stuff on TV. Sorry if this post is odd or uninteresting. I can simply never pass up a documentary! I suppose everyone will be glad when regularly scheduled programming returns.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


My parents were at the mall when they happened upon a brand new Lexus. You know the drill-some automaker will park a new model in the middle of a mall and get you to fill out a postcard with all of your personal info so they can spam the crap out of you. Anyway...

Despite being a gorgeous new Lexus, this car was filthy. I imagine with the holiday crowds, it saw a lot of "touching." People were writing random messages in the dirt. (Side note, never do this on your own car, as it can scratch the paint permanently, and sometimes even the glass. PSA brought to you by both my dad and Mr. Case.)

Some guy stood there writing:


No word on whether the girlfriend was present. Bold, buddy, bold!

Monday, December 27, 2010


The holidays are over and I'm glad. Not to sound Scrooge-y but December is a hectic month for our family outside of the obvious. My birthday is the 17th and my mom's is the 26th so it often feels like we have 5 big holidays in 2 weeks. Blah.

Christmas Eve had a bit-o-drama but Christmas was fine. I got a video camera and a new camera. Hooray: 2 practical but still drool-worthy gifts!

Mr. Case has a friend who lives about 3 hours away and he has invited us over to his home for New Year's Eve. I don't know if I am feeling up to committing to driving 3 hours to spend a holiday with strangers but we will see. Nevertheless if feels great to receive an invite!

I hope that everyone had a great holiday, and if you didn't, well, I hope you at least survived.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Jesus Is The Reason For The Season

At least, that's what I believe in my heart.

So, why is it that I get so preoccupied with purchasing gifts?

Not to mention, I always go over budget. Always.

$10 extra here, one more stocking stuffer get the point!

I will admit it is fun to receive gifts but I have told my entire family that (especially) because times are so tough financially, that I really don't want them spending beyond their means on my behalf.

This is also the first year that I have not made homemade gifts for my friends. I miss it but my pocketbook is thankful I haven't made new friends yet. Ha!

I've still only managed to buy one gift so tomorrow is going to be a major day of shopping for me. I think next year I will withdraw cash in the amount of my budget and hope it forces me to be more stringent.

Care to share any money saving tips with me? I could use them.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

You Need to Eat This, Now!

I saw on another blog a recipe from Paula Deen called "Not Yo Mama's Banana Pudding."

Initially I was skeptical because banana pudding can be pretty awful. My mom's custom recipe is delicious but I wanted to try something new for Mr. Case because he loves banana pudding.

I didn't take a picture of my pudding because it wasn't particularly attractive. I need to work on my food presentation. If my trifle bowl weren't in storage it probably would've looked more appetizing.

Here is a link for the recipe. This took less than 10 minutes to make, which made it all the more lovely.

If you try it let me know. It was extremely decadent and I only made it through a small serving, which is saying a lot considering my sweet tooth!

*** Yes, this is a Paula Deen recipe but there is NO butter involved! :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Rubbed the Wrong Way

Mr. Case and I were adamant that we would find a new church. Readers of my prior blog know how important it is for us to have a church home.

A new business acquaintance of Mr. Case's invited us to church with him. He was undecided if he'd be attending because of a prior arrangement so we decided to go one time beforehand since we had the service times and it was conveniently located to our house.

The service was great! We liked the message, the music was tolerable and they even had a cute Christmas skit performed by some of the members. I could definitely see myself attending here in the future, until....

At the very end of the service, the lead pastor was inviting everyone who was new to fill out a little card so they could get to know you. The church is growing in size and so they were offering a "VIP" parking ticket and a cookie from a local bakery. (The VIP thing seems arrogant but I was all in favor of the cookie!) Here I am rambling so let me get to the point: in his closing remark he made a rude reference to another religion.

The religion he mocked is one that gets a lot of heat. It just so happens I have quite a few friends congregants of this faith. They don't need me to take up their cause but I bristled at the remark.

Most people probably wouldn't have even noticed, or maybe even understood the slight, but let's call a spade a spade: he was getting a dig in! The insult was mild/tame but it didn't sit well with Mr. Case and I.

I equate it to politicians who try to get votes based on blasting the shortcomings of their opponents rather than their own strengths. I have no respect for people bashing other people's faiths. If you want me to believe what you believe, than convince me by teaching me your faith.

So here is the thing: we are supposed to attend tomorrow night with Mr. Case's friend and his wife. I'm feeling really, really torn about this because on the one hand, we loved the church. On the other, if the pastor does something inappropriate should I, as a Christian, forgive him and give him a second chance, or is something like a rude comment a sign of something bigger that can't be overlooked? I'm tempted to email him to let him know that as a first-time visitor, I took offense to his comment because it was ignorant.

You can throw a pebble and hit five churches here so it is not like we're desperate. But it would be nice to meet people and this is our only invitation thus far.

What would YOU do?


Today is my 29th birthday.

I'm not too keen on birthdays, generally, but this year I have so much to be thankful for that I would be remiss in not giving thanks for reaching 29.

Next year is the BIG 3-0 and I'm reallllly scared so I'm going to soak up every single last minute of being 29.

To start, I'm going to have a red velvet cupcake.

In bed.

Then I'm going to buy some Christmas presents. I haven't purchased a single thing except for Mr. Case's family gifts, which needed to be mailed weeks ago. For my 29th year I think my resolution should be to stop procrastinating. I'm usually done shopping by December 1st so I'm not sure what happened during my 28th year!

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Sunday, December 12, 2010


The wind here is like something out of a Hollywood movie. 

For realz. 

I couldn't figure out why so many homes here had a brick facade but now I realize it is to ensure nobody takes flight to Oz. 

Although, sometimes the noise is so scary I think Oz might be a better alternative. 

If you live in Southern California, let me just reiterate for you that in terms of weather, you are extremely sheltered. 

Growing up people would always ask me if I was afraid of earthquakes. To someone not living on a fault line it seems like the most terrifying potential natural disaster. 

Um, no. 

Never in my life has an earthquake been severe enough for me to stop whatever I was doing. 

In my little mind, the only thing that could be worse would be something water-related such as flooding or epic snow (Hi, Midwest, love you!)

The wind howls with a vengeance. 

If you've made it this far I applaud you for surviving the world's most boring blog post. I promise to come back with something bigger and better...patience grasshoppers.

I don't make promises I can't keep. *Wink*

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Texas Tidbits

Let's do bullet points, shall we?

  • We made it in one piece. But not before realizing I lost my wallet somewhere, which meant Mr. Case had to make the entire drive. 
  • I learned it snows quite a bit in both Arizona and New Mexico. 
  • I'm pretttty sure my new bedroom is haunted.
  • We had our first tornado warning but Mr. Case being, well, Mr. Case, he persisted on working under his truck the entire time. 
  • It felt very good to reunite with my dog. She has gotten fat thanks to my mom feeding her table food. 
  • As is to be expected, lots of stuff is misplaced and everything is in total disarray. 
  • I miss my people terribly but I suppose that will never go away. Hopefully the pain will dull with frequent visits and after we make some new friends to occupy our time. 
  • There needs to be a Yucatan Taco Stand in California. Seriously, somebody write them a letter and beg
  • I've been reading your blogs but haven't had much time to comment. That will change, promise. 

Tough Break

When my dad was a toddler he of 4, he was playing baseball with some older kids. His last memory of the game is of the bat coming at his head. He next remembers waking up several hours later when it was dark, in his living room.

His parents were poor and couldn't afford to seek medical treatment.

As a result of that accident, he sustained permanent brain damage that he didn't learn about till decades later.

Long story short, he has never had a sense of smell. He doesn't remember any smells from before his accident, either.

No stopping to smell the roses, inhaling the scent of his freshly bathed babies, etc. Somehow, he is an amazing amateur chef.

Where am I going with this?

Earlier this week, for the first and likely last time, my dad smelled something.

We don't know how it happened or why, but all information suggests it was a random fluke.

Are you curious as to what he smelled?



If you ask me, that's the worst scent experience ever. I'd have rather never smelled anything.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Salvation Army Rocks

As I mentioned in a prior post, we have donated a lot of furniture, clothing and goods to both The Salvation Army and Goodwill Industries.

I have to say, I prefer working with The Salvation Army ten times better. If you are considering donating something, I say go with them. I was able to call and pick a specific time for them to come. They did all the heavy lifting and gave me a custom itemized receipt for my taxes.

The effort on my part was negligible, which is exactly what I need during this stressful time!

A Very Puerto Rican Thanksgiving

In all the years Mr. Case and I have been together, we have only spent two with my family- 1 Christmas and 1 Thanksgiving. 

This year, Mr. Case wanted to attend Thanksgiving at my aunt's house. I was really worried about his family but he was adamant.  Our original plan was to celebrate with some friends but those plans were rearranged. I thought it best to stay home and then the offers started rolling in. After a few days I began to feel sad we weren't going to celebrate so I gave in. It's going to be tough considering the timing but I think it is important to celebrate the holidays. It is my favorite time of year so I'm not going to deprive myself of any fun. 

There will be NO TURKEY. Instead we will eat pasteles, arroz con pollo y gondules, plantanas, and a host of other stuff I can't pronounce or spell. To say Mr. Case is thrilled with the menu is an understatement. Not to mention, my aunt is a seasoned baker and will be making no fewer than 4 different desserts. 

My dad said he is jealous and thinks we've made "a terrific culinary decision." He also noted that, "I married a white chick so it's traditional turkey for me." Luckily for him my mom is also an excellent cook. I identify with my Hispanic side more than my European side when it comes to food so I won't be missing mashed potatoes or green bean casserole, lol. My brothers, on the other hand, couldn't love that type of food any more if they tried. 

I see a food coma in my future. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I love Wheel of Fortune.

I know, I know. I'm totally not their demographic.

But I can't help it.

Now, I've never been on the show but from the comfort of my futon* I can say that it is incredibly frustrating to see people blowing their money buying vowels when the solution to the puzzle is blatantly obvious! I found myself yelling at the TV a few minutes ago-that's how obvious it was!

Perhaps the pressure being on the show is a distraction but I have long maintained that the hardest part of being on the show would be remembering what letters other people had called that didn't work.

Don't worry, at some point I intend to get a life....

*I know futons are for college kids but we donated our couches to The Salvation Army and the guest room futon was the only option left to avoid sitting on the floor. 

Public Service Announcement

Tonight Mr. Case and I were driving to dinner and a man pulled up next to us in a large truck. He had one foot resting on the dashboard and was on his cell phone. Obviously he deserves to lose his license but I digress....

I commented that women are usually the ones to put their feet up on the dash. Mr. Case then informed me that in doing so, you almost guarantee loss of use of your legs should you get in an accident. I assumed he meant you'd go through the windshield but he explained that in actuality, the airbags splinter your bones from the force.

So, if you're one of those people that likes to put your feet up in the car, don't do it! Mr. Case is an automotive engineer so he knows what he's talking about. Be safe!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Taking A Stand for Morality

Most of you are aware of the scandal plaguing Amazon last week. For those of you who might have missed it, Amazon came under fire for selling a book entitled, "The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-Lover's Code of Conduct".

The book really is as awful as it sounds. They featured the story on my local news, where the author had been tracked down and confronted about his thoughts on a potential boycott of Amazon, and his thoughts on his book. He was as morally depraved and disgusting as you'd picture such a person to be. 

Twitter was on fire with this story. My stream alone was with filled with people calling for a boycott. 

Originally, Amazon refused to remove the book, stating that they didn't believe in censorship. Eventually, someone with a moral compass in their inner circle convinced them to bow to the pressure and remove the book. Either that, or they realized they couldn't afford the terrible press prior to the holiday season. Regardless, the book has been removed. 

As a kid, I always dreamed I would grow up to be a journalist. I mention this because I do not believe in censoring books, either. One of the people I follow on Twitter stated that a boycott of Amazon was inappropriate because it is a case of "killing the messenger." She rationalized that you can't punish an entire country if their dictator does something bad, etc. 

Except, for all the attention drawn to this book, Amazon got publicity. And every time the book sold, Amazon made a profit.

Let me reiterate: every time a book that instructs child molesters on how to victimize children (and get a lighter sentence if convicted) sold, Amazon made a profit.  

After thinking about the issue for several days, I am calling BS. 

This is not a case of censorship. This is a case of profiting off of victimizing children. I don't care if Amazon only earns 1 cent for every book sold, that is a cent earned off of a book encouraging crimes against children. 

During the interview the author spoke candidly about his stance that child molesters should not face criminal charges, and that they should be embraced the way people of other "odd sexual preferences" are. He also spoke on the need for children to learn tips on how to navigate these "relationships."

At what point do we, as a society, stand up and say that protecting children is more important than protecting this disgusting creature's freedom of speech? When was it determined that his needs or desires are more important than those of the children who could be harmed as a result of this book? 

This is not about censorship! This is about children. Helpless, vulnerable children. And it's about the monsters who want to harm them and are looking for information on how to do it. 

I am sick of the right to freedom of speech being manipulated to enable criminals and vagrants to terrorize and harm others. I am tired of censorship being used as a crutch to promote morally corrupt songs, books and the like. 

We need to stand up for what is ethical and moral, even if it is unpopular. We need to stand up for people who cannot defend themselves (like children.) We need to take a stand as a society and say we are not going to tolerate people manipulating us into thinking their immoral behavior is acceptable simply because they have free will to choose to do bad things. I'm not going to condone someone's behavior simply because they have a "right" to be who they want to be and act the way they feel like acting. 

The time to stand up for morality is now. I don't care if I am never popular, I will make a vow to myself to stand up for what is right. Promoting pedophilia or companies like Amazon that profit from it, is not right for me. I am not a good fit for their company values. 

To be fair, I must disclaim that I have not purchased anything from Amazon before. This is directly correlated to my lack of internet-savvy, and not a prior incident. I don't make a lot of internet purchases but in the future I will not be buying from them. 

Here is Amazon's official statement:

"Amazon believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable," it reads. "Amazon does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts, however, we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions."

"Objectionable" is putting it lightly, to me. 

I'm glad they support my right to not give them any of my money, now or ever. 

Birthday Time

We celebrated Mr. Case's birthday in fine style for the better part of three days.

On Thursday our good friends Russ and Debbie treated us to ice cream at a locally-famous place called Farrell's. The place was like a zoo! Lots of fun and commotion!

With Russ and Debbie at Farrell's

On Friday Mr. Case's mom took us to Maggiano's. Their timing was VERY off so that left us feeling a bit rushed but as always, the food itself was fantastic. I can't recommend Maggiano's enough if you have a large party. 

On Saturday we celebrated at Dave and Buster's. I feel like such an idiot because I forgot to take pictures on Friday and Saturday! I am completely bummed since this is the last time we'll really get to see a lot of our friends in one place. We had a lot of fun! I never even left our table to play any games-the conversation with my girlfriends was too fun!

I really need to get a "point and shoot" camera for myself. Rob has one but I don't know where it is our how to use it. My new goal is to take as many pictures as possible. Any recommendations on a camera? I have a super expensive DSLR gifted to me but I don't know how to use it (yet) and it's a bit bulky for nights out with friends.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Today is Mr. Case's birthday-he's 25! For those that don't know, yes, he is younger than me!

In the 4+ years we have been together, we have lived A LOT of life! Mr. Case has been with me through sickness and in health, prosperity and failure. It hasn't always been easy but we've stuck it out and I am so proud of us for that.

Mr. Case is a wonderful man. He is an extremely hard worker, often working side jobs on evenings and weekends to support our fledgling little family. I know one day he will make a terrific father. He is dedicated and honorable.

Let me tell you a few things about Mr. Case:

1. He loves cars. In fact, "love" is an understatement. He eats, sleeps and breathes them. Cars are his mistress.

2. He is a "man's man." He loves sports, the occasional beer, hamburgers and all things Americana.

3. His signature dish is macaroni and cheese with hot dogs. Otherwise, he stays out of the kitchen and tries not to complain about my cooking.

4.  He is a clothes whore. Despite his affinity for masculine stuff, he's a total metrosexual. I got the best of both worlds! Unfortunately he can't wear his mohawk the way he likes because of work, but he's a fashionista at heart!

5. He is a family man through and through. And by far, that is the sexiest thing about him!

This is an old photo from 2007 but I love our crazy hair and Mr. Case's mohawk!
Happy Birthday, Mr. Case. May all your birthday wishes come true...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Losing Steam

I'm losing momentum on the Thankfulness Project. Don't get me wrong, I have TONS to be thankful for. In fact, way more than thirty days' worth. But choosing this project in the midst of packing was over-ambitious to put it lightly.

Hopefully I can return to this project once I get re-settled but I never make a promise unless I'm confident I can keep it.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Freedom! Or, Thankfulness Project Day 7

Mr. Case is taking a class on religions of the world and part of his assignment is to attend various houses of worship. The fun part of his final two classes is that I get to tag along. Something you may not know about me is that I love to study different religions. 

Today I attended church with my friend Debbie. She is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (AKA Mormons but from what I understand that's not how they prefer to be referred to as.)

I had a fantastic time at Debbie's church. We attended what is known as "Sacrament Meeting" and it was a special day-during the first service of the month members of the church partake in what (I believe-Debbie correct me if I'm wrong and sorry for anything I butcher!!) is called "Fast and Testimony." Members of the church got up and gave their testimonies and it was a very special event to watch. 

So today, I am thankful for several things:

1. God and His love for His people. 
2. The blessing of hearing people give their testimonies. Even though I am not a member of her church, I was really moved by the stories people shared. I felt blessed to hear them.
3. The fact that I live in a country where I can go to pretty much any place of worship and not have to fear for my life or worry that I will face punishment for any reason. I never take for granted the liberties granted to me as an American. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Who Says the Magazine Industry is Dying?

This, friends, is a tiny sampling of the magazines in my house. I can't explain why I save them after I read them but the impending move has given me incentive to throw them away. Today (and every day!) I am thankful that I was born in a country where learning to read is possible. I am also thankful not only for trashy magazines, but for books, newspapers and all other forms of the written word. Never take for granted your ability to read!


This blurry photo is my bird, Woody. Have you ever tried to photograph a bird? It ain't easy!

Woody technically belongs to my mom but he has been in our care since April 2009. I am thankful to have him in my home because during the day when I am alone by myself, he sings to me and cheers me up. Mr. Case has taught him a bunch of whistles and calls so we randomly call out to one another during the day. My favorite thing about him is the fact that he loves to take a bath in my hands; it's the coolest thing!

I wish I could've gotten a better picture so you could see the beautiful colors on his tail feathers, etc. but he was cranky today. If you're curious, there is much debate in the family as to whether he is a parralett (sp?) or a Lovebird. The verdict is out. He has been mauled by two dogs and had his legs reattached and still gets up and sings every day!

Having pets are a requirement for me for a happy life.

***As I'm sure most of you can tell Nablopomo couldn't hold my interest past two prompts so for anyone who was interested in it, I apologize. If you're doing the prompts please let me know so I can check out your blog. 


My 4th thing I am thankful for is the gift of siblings. I am sure being an only child wouldn't have been the end of the world, and I am also sure many single-children LOVE being the one and only. But for my part, I am really glad my parents gave me siblings.

When I was in preschool my mom had a miscarriage. I continued to tell people my mom was pregnant for several months after till the school told me to knock it off. My poor mom!

When my parents got pregnant again, they sat me down with my favorite meal and joyfully announced the news of my brother's impending birth. My response? I angrily responded, 'I didn't ask for a baby!'

By the time my mom was pregnant with my second brother, I just hoped and hoped it would be a girl. For a few years after his birth I still wished for a sister.

Today? There is no way you could pay me to have a sister! I even got another brother when I married my husband! God knows best and He knew I needed all brothers!


I am thankful for the ability to start my life over. Quite literally, and sorta figuratively.

Not everyone is able to start over when they face financial hardship but we are able to do so and for that I can't express how grateful I am! Lesson learned: being laid off has not meant the end of the world (though it did mean the end of eating out, lol.)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Today is a 2fer post: Nablopomo-worthy and thankfulness-worthy.

This is a necklace given to me by a person whom I consider my kindred spirit. Friendship really is one of the greatest gifts in life. I am a girl's girl and having close girlfriends is of extreme importance to me. 

Friendship has not always been easy for me, but I am proud to say that I have a few close friendships that have withstood the trials of life. For me, it is about quality of friendship and not quantity of friends. 

Being given this beautiful necklace made me feel safe, loved and special. Knowing I have my girlfriends to depend on means more than words can say. Cheesy? Yes. But absolutely true. 

Friends are the family we choose for ourselves!
Inscribed on the necklace: I am thankful that in God's design He planned it so that your path crossed mine

Why Move?

I've lived in California for most of my life.  I love it here-the local mountains, the beaches, the weather, the food. I could go on and on. But since my family moved to Oregon almost ten years ago, the joy I have felt here hasn't been the same. There could be a million things to do, but if your loved ones aren't there to enjoy them with you, what's the point?

I have made so many friends here, some of whom have been around for what feels like a lifetime. The mere thought of leaving those friends behind brings tears welling behind my eyes. I have certainly enjoyed countless memories in this beautiful state with them.

When Mr. Case and I first began to consider moving out of state, we had to list the pros and cons. Both lists were extensive. We fought, we plotted, we cried and we basically stretched the issues to every far corner of our mind trying to decide what would be best for us.

Mr. Case's family lives here and it will be difficult (at best) to leave them behind. His grandfather is elderly and will not fly so the only time we can see him is when we visit California.

So we began to look at real estate here. While modest, our income was strong. We qualified for a sizable loan but the options for us were mainly condominiums. While we have nothing against condos, we intend to have children someday and had concerns over having enough room. Some of my fondest memories from childhood were of roaming my neighborhood, and a small condo with a zero lot line wouldn't allow for that.

Mr. Case's income is directly affected by the economic climate. When people don't have money, there is, quite literally, no work. Because of this, we had concerns over whether we would be earning enough to upgrade to a bigger home when kids came. The high cost of childcare and my desire to stay home with our kids also factored in. We would need to live in a home we could afford off of only one income. With no foreseeable improvement for his industry, it became obvious we were not going to be able to rely on only one income.

Then, in August, I got laid off. As the sole employee of my company, I incorrectly assumed my job was safe. Oh how quickly the mighty fall, yes?

Being laid off taught me a lot about myself and really confirmed many beliefs I held about priorities, standards, expectations and the like. Thankfully, we have been able to stay afloat. But just barely. I'd be lying if I didn't say things were tight 'round these parts. But that's OK. In fact, it has been a blessing. We've really been able to examine our spending and firm things up. We are running a tight ship.

All this to say, I often fantasize about what it would be like to not have to pay rent, plan for a mortgage or worry about, well, shelter. I can say with certainty that if I were to win the lottery, the first thing I would do is secure a home for me and Mr. Case. The second thing I would do is move both of our parents into homes where they can grow old and not have to worry about stairs, paying a mortgage on a fixed income, etc. And the third thing I would do is help displaced families. For those of you who know my family's personal story, you know that we know displacement well. Thankfully, we are resourceful but mostly we have been graced by God with opportunity to continue working as hard as we can to remedy as much of the displacement as possible. If I'm being too vague, feel free to email me and we can discuss anything you'd like.

Our goal (while lofty considering my lack of gainful employment) is to purchase a home within the next year. My wish for anyone in my same boat is to not lose hope. Know that "this too shall pass" and that there is hope for improvement. Sometimes losing everything is what it takes to appreciate what you do have. A valuable lesson can be learned from losing money: money is helpful and at times important, but it does not define you and you can't take it to the grave so you might as well enjoy the life you do have!

I Stand Corrected

Apparently, though Nablopomo doesn't have a theme, they're still issuing prompts. So I think I shall follow them. But! I still have quite a bit to be thankful for so I won't abandon that "theme" entirely.

P.S. Please let me know where you blog so I can add you to my reader. I've outgrown a lot of the blogs I used to follow and love to find new places to waste spend time! :)


So I had all these grand plans to follow Nablopomo this month as inspiration to get this new blog off the ground, only to discover there is no theme for this month. Go figure. 

But then I started noticing that "the cool thing to do" is to list 1 thing you are grateful for each day this month. Sounds like a grand plan to me! God has bestowed upon me more blessings than I can count. It would be foolish of me not to take advantage. 

This is Paris:

6 years ago I was living alone in California with my family a thousand miles away. The boy I loved had left me high and dry. I asked my mom to get me a dog. I don't know what on Earth possessed me to make such a request, considering I wasn't even allowed to have a pet at my apartment. But the planets aligned and in December of 2004 I flew to Oregon to pick up the best dog I've ever had: Paris.

I'm not one of those crazed people who thinks a dog replaces a living child, and I'm not quite obsessed with her. But still...

To be honest, Paris is the best friend I've ever had. She is loyal to a fault and always happy to see me. She has comforted me on days when I didn't think it was possible to get out of bed. At my lowest points and during my darkest days, she has given me comfort. 

Her love is unconditional. In fact, when I think of models of healthy loving, aside from The Man Upstairs, Paris gives the love I aspire to give. She keeps no record of wrongs and she loves with all her heart. Shouldn't we all???

So today, I am thankful for Paris. When she had cancer a few months ago, I felt destroyed inside. I know that pets aren't meant to last forever, and I definitely think that God teaches us lessons through loving and losing so many in a lifetime. Thankfully, she was able to have a curative surgery that should extend her life. When she boards a plane Saturday to live with my parents, my heart will ache each day till we're reunited. And even though I didn't select her from the litter, and even though I had my doubts since she is spunky and I "wanted" docile, I know she was always meant to be my loving friend. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Time to Get Serious, Or, A Serious Case of the Mondays

Today is November 1st.

I need to give notice at my apartment. I need to pack.

I need to do a lot of stuff. Instead of being inspired it makes me want to run and put my head in the sand like an ostrich! Alas, I don't have that luxury so productivity it is!

I was up all night feeling kind of icky so after a much-needed nap, I am ready to start running errands and preparing meals.

I'm really in the mood to just give away everything. Everyone is telling me that is the wrong thing to do, but I am a minimalist at heart and all this "stuff" feels like a burden. I need to call Goodwill and ask them what they will and will not accept. Selling stuff on Craig's List is not going too well. My friend Angela is hosting a garage sale for me on the 13th so hopefully I will lose a lot of dead weight there!

Wow, I didn't realize how tired I am. I took my brother to traffic court this morning at 7:30 and so I guess I haven't been entirely unproductive. I also did the first run of the dishwasher. I don't know if it is because my kitchen is to tiny or what, but whenever I clean the kitchen it is a miracle if I only have to run the machine once! Time to pull my boot straps up and get to work!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

MOCA and Lemonade

Mr. Case is taking an art appreciation class and must visit several museums. Today I joined him at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA.)

I love many things about Los Angeles-the food, the clubs, the museums, the people watching. I could go on forever. That said, the traffic does not outweigh the good. I know for many (most?) it does. But I simply can't handle the traffic. Thankfully Mr. Case was driving so my nerves were only half-as-frazzled.

The museum did not allow photography so no pictures of that. I will say, of the two extensions, the location at the Geffen is 200% more bad ass. I highly recommend a trip to MOCA. Saturdays are free (for the time being) and they will shuttle you to the Geffen location for free, too. Had we had better bearings, we would've planned to eat lunch in Little Tokyo. Instead, we ate at Lemonade at MOCA.

To tell the truth, we ate their first out of desperation. I hadn't eaten all day and was feeling quite ill. We were only going to stop for a lemonade but when we saw the food, we decided to eat there. I highly recommend it!

Here I am with our two lemonade selections: Peach Ginger and Watermelon Rosemary:

Mr. Case is obsessed with all things lemon and was delighted to get a lemonade cupcake.

And here in all its glory is a ginormous caramel fleur de sel macaron.

I'm bummed we won't get to go to more museums before we leave but I am looking forward to the art Texas has to offer. My first stop will be a trip to Austin if I have anything to say about it!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Testing, 1...2...3

This blog has been a long time in the making. Months, in fact. Some of you know me from other places. If you do, I'd be ever so grateful if you erased those places from your memory. Thanks for taking time from your day to spend with me here.

I have a lot of little hopes and dreams for this new corner of the Internet. Mostly, I simply want to return to the reason I began writing...and hopefully better myself along the way. My prior blogging past was dark and sordid in the end so this is my fresh start. Feel free to email me, as I'd really love to hear what's on your mind and in your heart.

Thanks for your fellowship and please let me know where you live on "the net" so I can add you to my blog roll!